Cheers to pub for providing much-needed village shop

Residents in a Northumberland village can now get a pint of milk and other useful items at a local pub.

Sunday, 26th March 2017, 8:55 am
Anne and Rob Gormanley behind the bar at The Swinburne Arms with groceries and a newspaper from the shop. Picture by Philip Ryott.

The Swinburne Arms Village Shop was officially opened by three Stamfordham men – Bill Telfer, his brother Percy and John Minto.

They are now able to pick up daily groceries and newspapers without having to drive seven miles to Ponteland.

Anne Gormanley, John Minto, Percy Telfer, Bill Telfer and Rob Gormanley outside the pub. Picture by Philip Ryott.

Privately owned by the Capheaton Estate, The Swinburne Arms has undergone a revival since newcomers Rob and Anne Gormanley took on the pub in August 2014.

Although experienced business people, neither had run a pub, but this did not deter their efforts to put it back at the heart of the community.

With the closure of the village shop 10 years ago, they were inspired by not-for-profit organisation Pub is The Hub to develop the stable and outbuilding that was being used as storage space.

They had support from the parish council, residents and community groups, and Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Fund for £4,000, which was matched by the Capheaton Estate. The couple invested the remainder of the project costs from their own business.

Anne Gormanley, John Minto, Percy Telfer, Bill Telfer and Rob Gormanley outside the pub. Picture by Philip Ryott.

Mrs Gormanley said: “Our dream was to breathe life back into the pub, but we quickly realised that the village was crying out for this other essential service. We’ve had tremendous support from the whole village and we are delighted with everyone’s reaction.”

The couple are intending to expand stock from local suppliers over time and as they establish what customers will need.

The shop is also proving very popular with the village’s children and employs two local part-time employees: Diane Parry and Kody Greene.

Trisha Hughes, regional advisor from Pub is The Hub, said: “Rob and Anne have made a really wonderful job with this project.

“New to the business, they have invigorated the pub business with gusto and quickly spotted where they could extend their support for the community with a shop.”

Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Fund was established with funding from the Government and drinks manufacturer Diageo PLC in April 2013 to help UK pubs to diversify into new services provision for their own communities.